Compassion isn’t something we’re born with. It’s learned. And it’s something parents can — and should — teach their kids. You can do it by example. Through conversation. Through experience.
While instilling a sense of compassion in a youngster by being a shining example is admirable, there’s much more to it than that! It’s not enough to just be a compassionate, caring person yourself. You have to help your kids develop empathy, kindness, caring and a sense of responsibility toward others, say the experts at Parenting.com. They suggest steps such as setting rules and expectations, enforcing limits, providing structure, encouraging friendships and setting high standards, among others.
Here are 11 other things you can do to raise a truly caring and compassionate child, from Parents Magazine. And 13 more tips, from Scholastic.com.
Jim Taylor, Ph.D also stresses that children aren’t likely to learn compassion on their own. In his piece for Psychology Today, he says parents have to nurture that “caring for others” trait in a child’s early years, so they will come to “realize its value and embrace it as their own.” The author is also convinced that compassion is contagious, and advises surrounding your family with compassionate people.
Why generate compassion in your children? A simple answer – it could be a key to help them enjoy life by becoming “more deeply attached” to family, friends, and others around them.
Unfortunately, Everydayfamily.com cites an MSNBC special indicating that today’s young adults – high school and college students – are less likely to “get” the emotions of others, citing a more competitive society in which today’s parents are raising children compared to people of the same age group 30 to 40 years ago.
There seems to be no question that, while building a child’s confidence and self-esteem is important, promoting a sense of caring and compassion is equally so.